d. John Waters / 1988 / USA / 91 mins
Despite the hype and hoopla surrounding the recent musical remake, this is the first time I have watched Hairspray (or any John Waters film, for that matter) in a number of years. And what really stands out (and holds up) for me, is Waters’ brilliant grasp on the absurdities of suburban life, and the typically strange brand of humour which hovers around his films through a canny mix of off-the-wall absurdity and excruciating mundanity.
This is just a great film – with a good, simple story and such a great cast – that it is really no wonder that it became such a highly successful stage musical and Hollywood feature. But if it’s a raw shot of entertainment that you seek, forget the candy-coated musical remake and head straight for the original (and still the best).
Don’t believe me? Well, I think it’s time we heard about it from the King of Sleaze himself: